The Woman Who Is Not My Mother
by Marsha Roberts
I can hear her walking toward the front door, her sensible shoes shuffling closer and closer. But the door doesn’t open yet. She is standing there, just on the other side. She’s making the sign of the cross and asking the Blessed Virgin for courage. I know this because I have seen it many times from the other side.
“Who is it?” she says, her voice the size of a doll’s.
Before I can answer, she says it again, this time pleading. “Who is it?” She's imagining the worst … no, not imagining—remembering. It is wartime and they've come to take her and her family away. The words tremble through the door again. “Please, who is it?”
I try to sound as cheery as I can. “Your daughter!”
“Who?” Mercifully, confusion spills over the terror, blunting it.
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